Entrepreneurs gain new perspectives through Profit Mastery course

For a long time, Cari Laza Orsak felt like she was working just to earn enough to pay her taxes, but that changed when she took a Profit Mastery workshop offered through the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center.

Cari Laza Orsak

Orsak, owner of carilaza designs in Victoria, was one of four small business owners who recently gathered with business advisors from the UHV SBDC to discuss how their approach to business has changed since they first took the workshop in July.

“For years, it’s been a real struggle for me to make a profit,” Orsak said. “I was so frustrated because it seemed like I was working all the time, but I was barely keeping my head above water. This workshop made me look at how I was working and re-evaluate how and where I’m spending my time.”

Profit Mastery is a two-day course that uses DVD-recorded teaching sections combined with workbooks and in-person tutoring. During the workshop, students learn about business concepts and finances. The course focuses on explaining the concepts in simple terms and then putting them into practice through the workbooks.

Joe Humphreys

The UHV SBDC offers the Profit Mastery course regularly. The next sessions are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 at the Victoria College Emerging Technology Complex, 7403 Lone Tree Road. There is a fee of $395 for the class, but a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission is available for those who quality.

“The focus is all about helping small businesses succeed,” UHV SBDC Director Joe Humphreys said. “It’s user friendly and offers all manners of tools and methods entrepreneurs can use to evaluate where their businesses are financially and what actions they need to take to become more stable and successful.”

Orsak attended the workshop based on a recommendation from Lindsay Young, her UHV SBDC business advisor. Young has taken the course three times in the past five years for professional development, and every time she learns something different. Young knew the information offered in the workshop would be invaluable for her client.

“After taking the course, Cari has developed a real understanding she didn’t have before when we would discuss her business,” Young said. “For her, it was like taking an introductory Spanish course before going to Mexico. It opened her eyes to a new perspective and appreciation for the financial side of business.”

Lindsay Young

For Miguel Gonzalez, owner of MSJ Services in Telferner, the course was a big step in his desire to understand more about the financial side of his business. Although he has been in business for two years, he did not fully understand the worth of his business or how knowledge of certain basic numbers when running his business can create room for improvement.

“The Profit Mastery class helped me see the next level in running and growing my business,” Gonzalez said. “I got into this business because I loved what I was doing, but I didn’t really understand finances. The class helped me learn the terminology, and that’s a big deal when I’m working with banks and keeping up with my books.”

To register for the next Profit Mastery class, contact Victoria College at 361-582-2528. To apply for grant funds, contact Rachel Nessel at 361-582-2575 or

The UHV SBDC offers assistance on starting, growing and financing a business; contracting opportunities; and recovering from disaster. Most of its services are free to area small business owners in Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, DeWitt, Gonzales, Goliad, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Refugio and Victoria counties. It is part of a nationwide small business assistance program serving the small business community and federal, state and local governments.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.